when u get a cute button up shirt and u think it’s going to fit and it does but. but then. u see it. The Thing
karenhart28 asked: Hi Joe! Love your blog, and I wanted to ask: What year is it? Not in the Gregorian calendar but what actual scientific year for the earth is it? And if it's too hard to calculate, do we have an estimate? Thanks!
Kinda depends on where we set year zero, eh?
My first inclination was to answer this in relation to the Big Bang, calculating today’s date based on the age of the universe. When we average together the results of all the different scientific experiments that have sought to calculate that number, we get 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years, or an uncertainty of 37 million years. That’s less than 0.3% “?” territory, but still pretty fuzzy.
But wait! The idea of a “year” is based on the Earth’s orbit around the sun (and scientists have many ways of defining a year, as it turns out), so you can’t have “years” without Earth. I think Earth’s age is a better starting point.
Based on radiometric dating of ancient meteorites and other really old rocks, scientists peg Earth’s age at 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years, an uncertainty of 50 million years. Sheesh, 1% error? Are we sure about anything?
That means it’s somewhere between year 4,490,000,000 APF* and 4,590,000,000 APF. Kind of a broad estimate, unfortunately, but it means that next time someone tells you to turn something in or finish a project at work by a certain date, you can just stare at them for a few seconds and say “But we don’t even know what YEAR it is, man…”** and just walk away.
* “APF” stands for “After Planet Formation” and is an abbreviation I literally just now made up so it should not be deemed scientific, although I AM a scientist, so maybe just say it with conviction and everyone will believe you.
** I recommend using your best Spicoli impression while saying this.